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| Selling a Home Topics | For Sale by Owner Topics |

Buying a Home

(Click below for topics of interest. "Return to Top" will bring you back here.
Click the "BACK" button or the "ABOUT" link to the left to return to all the topics.)

| 7 Most Important Factors | Tips for First Time Buyers |
| Credit Reports | Items needed for Credit Apps |
| Idaho Realestate Market | Importance of Agency |
| 8 Tips for Successful Search | Record Keeping |
| House Hunting Priorities | How-To's of House Hunting |
| Property Inspection| Touring Homes Suggestions |
| FSBO | Know Before Purchase |
Before Buying Home | 6 Potential Pitfalls |
| 12 Troublesome Factors | Home Warranty Plans |
Questions to Ask before Offer | Questions to Ask about Utilities |
| Condo Questions | Negotiating a Contract |
| Who Pays What at Closing? | | Rich's Financial Investment In You |

The best advice I can give is this: take your time and personally research the neighborhood, property, builder and ask lots of questions. Ask for copies of utility expenses and the property disclosure statement on the homes you really like. Most listing agents will have extra copies inside their home book at the property when you view it. Just ask for a copy!

The Seven Most Important Factors in Choosing Your Real Estate Professional:
  • 1. Level of professionalism of your agent.
  • 2. Experience and reputation of your agent.
  • 3. Knowledge and skill level of your agent.
  • 4. Reputation and ability of the company.
  • 5. Track record of sales in your price range, ask for referrals.
  • 6. The commitment of your agent to sell your home as quickly as possible at the best possible price.
  • 7. High edge of computer and technology skills and uses email as the primary source of information delivery.

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  • Determine what you can afford up front by pre-qualifying with a lender.
  • Stay committed and positive. If you believe you can buy a home, you usually can.
  • The larger your down payment, the easier it will be to find a mortgage, and your monthly payments will be smaller.
  • If you' re handy with tools, consider buying a home that needs repairs or a repossession.
  • Tell everyone you' re looking for a house and then don' t limit yourself to a single area.
  • Try to define what you really want and need in both the house and neighborhood.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Concentrate on reaching your objectives.
Pre-Approval Program:

Most buyers are applying for a loan and obtaining approval before they find the home they want to buy. Here are the benefits:
  • You look at the "right" homes.
  • You save money dealing with a comfortable seller.
  • You close more quickly.
  • You minimize trauma of not knowing whether or not you qualify.

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What Does Your Personal Credit Report Say About You?

When applying for a home loan, the last thing you need are surprises. That’s why anyone who is considering buying a home should obtain, and if necessary correct, their personal credit report. One of Rich Sieber's lenders will provide you with a credit report on yourself at the pre-qualifying meeting. You can get on the internet and get a credit report for as low as $7.00.

Understandably, the lender wants to know your track record of paying your debts. To find out, they will order a mortgage credit report from a bureau that collects information from retailers, banks, finance companies, mortgage lenders and other public sources on all consumers who use any type of credit. You have the right to inspect a summary of your credit report, challenge any inaccuracies and request that the credit agencies make corrections. You can see why it is so important to start this process early in the game.

You can purchase a special consumer version of you report by contacting one of the major credit bureaus covering your area. One of the largest in the United States, TRW, offers a free copy as often as once a year by calling 214-390-9191 and following the instructions provided in the taped message. You may do this or wait until the pre-qualifying meeting.

Upon receiving your credit report, carefully review the explanation of codes used to rate your payment history for each account and scrutinize each entry. Credit bureaus, which handle millions of consumer records, are notorious for including erroneous information; The good news is they are required by law to promptly substantiate or correct any discrepancies.

If you discover any errors in your report, immediately follow the bureaus procedures to correct them. If your credit report still has a negative tone or contains a series of late payments that may have occurred due to extenuating circumstances, you have the right to submit an explanatory statement that can be made part of your permanent record. It is important that prospective lenders know that you care about your credit history.

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  • Addresses for two full years
  • Gross monthly income
  • W-2s, if available
  • Proof of pensions, retirement, disability or Social Security
  • Proof of income from rentals, investments, etc.
  • Proof of child support or alimony paid/received
  • Year to date pay stub
  • If self-employed:
  • Two years 1040 Tax Returns
  • Current year profit and loss statement

  • Each creditor' s name, address and type of account
  • Account numbers
  • Monthly payments and approximate balances
  • Amount of child care expenses

  • Names and addresses of saving institutions
  • Account numbers for all accounts
  • Type of accounts and present balances

  • List of assets in stocks, bonds, land
  • Life insurance cash value (documented if used as cash down payment)
  • If applicant is selling a home, a copy of sales contracts
  • Social Security numbers for all parties
  • Veterans - Certificate of Eligibility & DD-214
  • Cash or check to pay for application fee

  • Copy of sales agreement
  • Copy of listing on property
  • Instructions on how appraiser is to gain entrance
Strengthen Your Loan Application
Follow these steps to improve your chances of financing success:
  • 1. Before you apply for a loan, check your credit with a credit reporting agency. Correct and update erroneous information, note any disputes. This will be done at the pre-qualifying meeting at your lender.
  • 2. Put off career transitions until after closing on the property if possible.
  • 3. Prepare basic loan information and turn it in with your application to your loan officer.
  • 4. After applying, tell the loan officer you expect a weekly update, and call if you don' t hear back on a regular basis. You only have to worry about this if don' t have Rich Sieber.
  • 5. Monitor your application's progress by finding out when it goes to underwriting, and when it receives underwriting approval. Upon approval, ask if you can pick up a written confirmation. Rich Sieber will send you letters reporting the weekly progress.
  • 6. Send copies of written confirmation to seller or seller's broker, as appropriate. This will all be handled by Rich Sieber as part of our full service to you.
  • 7. If there seems to be any delay, ask if further information or documentation is required. Respond promptly to expedite approval.
If there are items on your credit report that you do not agree with please call the appropriate companies and get them cleared up. Ask the company to FAX you a letter that indicates you have settled the suit, claim or amount owed. Tell them you will get the information to all three credit bureaus. Get these three phone numbers from Rich Sieber.

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(Rich can help increase your knowledge and awareness of the inventory of available homes.)
  • At any one point in time, less than 15% of the property for sale in an area is being advertised or has been advertised in the last 10 days. If you had every newspaper classifieds and every real estate magazine you would still be missing 85% of the listings being offered. The only way you could find them is if you drove every street looking for signs. And even this way you would miss 10-20% of the available properties.
  • There are For Sale by Owners and Expired Listings (properties the owners wanted recently to sell but took off the market because of a variety of reasons, but most often still want to sell if the home matches a particular buyer). There are single party listings and even unlisted properties where the owner has said they want to or intend to sell but have decided to
    • 1) wait for a particular reason or
    • 2) they don' t want their house listed traditionally with a sign and lots of traffic, but will sell if an appropriate offer comes along.
    You need an agent that knows all these properties and can pursue them if appropriate. This can be particularly useful with hard to find homes. Rich makes a point of stopping at most "For Sale by Owner" signs and viewing them for existing and future buyers.
  • Because of my membership in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and my activities to maintain full awareness of all possible homes for sale, Rich can help you find the right home fast.
  • Because Rich Sieber checks the MLS "Hot Sheet" every morning, you get access to listings within 24 hours of the time they are processed.
  • Since there are have over 36 agents in the Compass Realty Office, Rich have access to many listings before they are turned into the MLS Office.

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BUYER AGENCY: Why is it Important to YOU AS A BUYER!

In Idaho when you choose to work with a real estate professional, it is important for you to understand the difference between a broker, a salesperson, or a sales associate.
  • A real estate broker is a licensed person who is in charge of the real estate brokerage firm.
  • A sales associate or salesperson is a person licensed with the broker and may only act through that broker. In other words, when you choose to work with any real estate professional, your business relationship is legally with that individuals broker.
  • It is especially important for you to discuss the following representation information with a real estate professional, and to agree on the type of business relationship you will have. 
  • Will you be a customer or a client.
    • What is a Customer?

      A customer receives valuable services from the real estate brokerage (assistance, information, etc.), but is NOT "represented" by it. Every person begins as a customer. If you do not sign a written listing contract you will NOT become a client, but will remain a customer.
    • As a customer, you can expect the real estate professional ("non agent") working with you to:
      • Provide good information in good faith.
      • Assist you in preparing offers and helping you close the transaction.
      • Use reasonable skill and care.
      • Disclose any adverse material facts the salesperson actually knows, or should reasonably have known (for instance the seller has told the salesperson that the basement leaks every winter).
    • As a customer, you should NOT expect the real estate professional you are working with to:
      • Conduct detailed inspections of the property for you or verify information given the buyer or seller.
      • Keep your bargaining information confidential. In fact, if the real estate professional's brokerage company is representing the other party (buyer or seller) in the transaction, and if you tell the salesperson about your willingness to pay more or take less, that representative must give this information to the broker's client. Whenever you, as a customer, speak to the real estate professional who represents another party in a purchase or sale, you should assume you are talking directly to the other party (buyer or seller).
    • What is a Client? A client is a buyer or seller who has signed a written contract or buyer-broker type contract to be "represented" by a broker. If there is no written agreement you will NOT become a client!
    • This written contract or agreement should answer:
      • How will the brokerage be paid and how?
      • How long am I obligated under this contract?
      • Can I also work with other brokerages during this agreement? Or, what will happen if I sell or buy on my own?
      • Am I willing to let this brokerage represent both me and the buyer (or seller)?
    • A client is represented by the broker and his or her sales associates.  If you are "represented" as a client, you can expect the real estate professional to:
      • Reasonably act to negotiate the best price and terms for you.
      • Tell the important information the agent knows or reasonably should have known which would influence your decision to buy or sell (such as the county's plans to build a freeway exit on the land next door).
      • Keep information about your bargaining position confidential in the marketplace.
      • Promote your interest with good faith, honesty and fair dealings and use reasonable skill and care in business dealings with you.
  • Can the Broker Represent Both Buyer and Seller as Clients? Yes, as a Limited Dual Agent.
  • What is a Limited Dual Agent?
    This situation comes up, for example, when a brokerage has your home listed for sale and also represents the buyer. Both of you are clients of the broker, and yet have different needs. The seller wants the highest price, and the buyer wants the lowest price. You do NOT have to agree to a limited dual representation. It is not the same as having your own agent. If you DO agree, you must do so in writing, and your agent will ask you to sign a Consent for Limited Dual Representation. A limited dual agent will still provide most client services. Without your permission, he or she won't reveal to the other party:
    • Personal information about your motivation to buyer or seller.
    • That as a buyer you will pay more than the offered price.
    • That as a seller you will take less than the listing price.
    • That you will agree to terms or price other than that listed.
  • A limited dual agent will avoid conflicting interest of the two clients and will focus on negotiating a sale or purchase that is satisfactory to both. The limited dual agent must use reasonable skill and care, but offers a limited type of representation.

    If this is not perfectly clear to you, please ask Rich to explain in farther detail Agency Law in Idaho. The blue brochure from the Idaho Real Estate Commission explaining agency must be give to you at first substantial business contact.

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Eight Tips for a Successful Search:
  • 1. Maintain an organized file of your search, and comments on each property. Make copies of the tour sheet and take them with you when you' re out looking at homes.
  • 2. Stay focused on your criteria - needs, desires, budget - as you look at homes. DON't LOOK AT HOMES OUT OF YOUR BUDGET!
  • 3. Keep me posted on your timeline and expectations. Let me know how many homes you hope to view and how much time you would like to spend in each session.
  • 4. Alert me to any homes that are advertised or on the internet, including any you find on your own that you might want to see.
  • 5. If you prefer to look around on your own, request a list of drive-bys in your price-range, which you can view from the outside first. I can arrange tours of those that appeal to you. I' ll give you cards to give the real estate agent at any OPEN HOUSE you attend.
  • 6. If possible, leave youngsters with a sitter when you look at property so you can focus your attention on the houses. You can take them by later or on the final tour.
  • 7. Let me know your opinion of each home and keep communication lines open. Remember, there are lots of people that change their wants as they view different homes and it’s okay!
  • 8. Let me know immediately when you have found a property you like and are ready to buy. It may not be there tomorrow.

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  • That Special Reminder: __________________________________________
    (Something that will remind you of this house)
  • Date & Day of Week: __________________________
  • Agent: _________________
  • Phone:_________________
  • Asking Price: _________________
  • My Offer: _________________
  • Subdivision: _________________
  • Address: _________________
  • House: _________________
  • Inside: _________________
  • Outside: _________________
  • Baths: _________________
  • Bedrooms: _________________
  • Attic: _________________
  • Family room: _________________
  • Garage: _________________
  • Basement: _________________
  • Neighborhood: _________________
  • Comments: ____________________________________________________
  • Remodel Kitchen/Bathroom/Basement/Other: ________________________
  • Paint/Siding/Pool/Other: _________________________________________
  • Special Features: _______________________________________________
  • I Rate this Home: (Excellent) (Good) (Fair) (Poor)

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House Hunting Priorities: On your first viewing, you should be looking for a home that meets your basic needs:
  • Is it in the right location? 
  • Does it have enough bedrooms and bathrooms? 
  • Is there enough storage space? 
  • Is there enough parking for your RV and is it okay in the neighborhood? 
  • Is the street safe for the children?
  • Is the price an amount you can afford? 
If the home meets the basic requirements, then start to look for how many wish list items it includes:
  • Is there an extra bedroom and/or bathroom?
  • Is there a double vanity in the second bathroom?
  • Is there a garden, fenced yard, dog run, deck, storage shed and etc.?
  • Is there a separate laundry room?
  • Is there a basement or crawl space?
  • Is the garage attached and have enough storage
  • Can the kids walk to school and are the schools right for your family?
  • Is there a wood-burning fireplace or a gas fireplace?
  • What is the condition of the house, the appliances, roof, foundation, walls, mechanicals, wiring, etc?
  • Does the home have a warranty?
  • Is it close to shopping?
Remember: Start with the general items, then get more specific.

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The How-To's of House Hunting:
Here are some helpful tips to make your house hunting experience as efficient, effective and enjoyable as possible:
  • Pick ONE Realtor to work with through the buying process! You' ll save time, money and effort in the long run.
  • Do your homework first. Before you hit the road, meet with Rich and a Rich Sieber lender first to figure out how much you can afford, your housing criteria desired and determine the area you prefer to live in or near. Of course you' re eager to get started on your search, but you' ll save time and energy if you' re prepared.
  • After the first initial meeting, Rich will show you four or five homes that meet your family's criteria, location and price range. Remember if you see any home with any Real Estate Company's sign on it Rich Sieber can still show it and sell it to you.
  • By limiting your search to manageable sections and focusing exclusively on each, you will be able to get a better idea of comparable values. While you' re out and about, try not to backtrack. I can plot each outing in a circular route from the office and back.
  • Let me do the driving. As a passenger, you can focus your attention on observing the surroundings, taking notes, marking maps and asking questions. And you won't have to worry about getting lost in unfamiliar territory.
  • Don't fall in love - And if you do, don't buy at first sight. When you encounter your dream home, give yourself a chance to sleep on it first, then reconsider it in light of the morning after. First impressions may be misleading, and questions will certainly surface given a chance.Rich Sieber would rather have you totally confident of your decision once you have chosen. RICH WILL ASK IF YOU WANT TO BUY EACH HOME HE SHOWS YOU AND ASK YOU TO CHOOSE THE BEST SEEN!
  • Make the second visit count. If you' re interested enough to give a house more than a once-over, prepare to do a thorough inspection on the second time around. It will require about an hour.
  • By limiting your search to manageable sections and focusing exclusively on each, you will be able to get a better idea of comparable values. While you' re out and about, try not to backtrack. I can plot each outing in a circular route from the office and back.
  • Let me do the driving. As a passenger, you can focus your attention on observing the surroundings, taking notes, marking maps and asking questions. And you won't have to worry about getting lost in unfamiliar territory.
  • Don't fall in love - And if you do, don't buy at first sight. When you encounter your dream home, give yourself a chance to sleep on it first, then reconsider it in light of the morning after. First impressions may be misleading, and questions will certainly surface given a chance. Rich Sieber would rather have you totally confident of your decision once you have chosen. RICH WILL ASK IF YOU WANT TO BUY EACH HOME HE SHOWS YOU AND ASK YOU TO CHOOSE THE BEST SEEN!
  • Make the second visit count. If you' re interested enough to give a house more than a once-over, prepare to do a thorough inspection on the second time around. It will require about an hour.

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Property and Home Inspection

There is a provision in the sales contract that gives you the right to inspect the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural portions of the property. It is usually paid for by the buyer and highly recommended even on new construction by the best agents.

There are professional inspection companies that provide services of this type. You should accompany the inspector to ask questions and should receive a written report itemizing any areas of concern. Rich recommends that you ask the inspector for his experience, insurance, references, and any other credentials in writing they may have to make your selection easier. BE SELECTIVE!!

If repairs are needed, you can request the seller to make them in accordance with the provisions of the sales contract. The seller may choose to NOT make the repairs and then it is your choice whether the sale continues or not.

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Touring Homes Suggestions:
  • Ask lots questions and then more questions. Share your concerns or feelings with the agent.
  • When in the home remain together to get everyone’s opinion, but feel free to take plenty of time to view it properly.
  • Feel free to take private time to discuss.
  • Take your time. The agent may want to turn off the lights and re-close blinds soon after turning them on, but this does not mean you shouldn't take your time. Go back and turn lights on and open blinds if you want to.
  • If you want to open cabinets or closets, but aren't sure, ask.
  • Sit down and feel comfortable if you want.
  • Go outside and get a feel of the home, yard, view, neighborhood and etc.
  • BE HONEST! Tell Rich or your agent how you really felt about the home. He has to get the proper feedback from you.
  • Ask your agent for a MLS print-out of the best homes you toured so that you may review them later.

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A homeowner trying to sell his home himself is usually doing so in hopes of saving the commission. Coincidentally, this is the reason a buyer wants to deal directly with a homeowner. Unfortunately, the savings are usually not passed on to the buyer in the form of a lower home price.

The FSBO may not disclose all the important facts he or she knows about the home or what is going to be happening in the area that may change the value of the home later.

Many times a homeowner will work with an agent, even though his home is not listed, if the agent introduces the buyer to the property. If you should see a FSBO and want the advantages of my services, please let me contact the owner and set the appointment.

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What Every Buyer Should Know Before Purchasing the Property:
  • Property taxes and qualified home interest are deductible on an individual's federal income tax return.
  • Many times, a home is the largest asset an individual has and is considered one of the safest investments available.
  • A homeowner can exclude up to $500,000 of capital gain if married, filing jointly or up to $250,000 if single or filing separately. The home must have been the taxpayer's principal residence for the previous two years.
  • A portion of each amortized mortgage payment goes to principal which is an investment.
  • A home is one of the few investments that you can enjoy by living in it.
  • The majority of the time a realtor can show you any home whether it is listed with a company, a builder, or even a For Sale by Owner.
  • Working through a realtor to purchase a For Sale by Owner can be very advantageous because someone can be looking out for your best interests.
  • A real estate professional who can provide you financial information with a computer will give you a distinct advantage in making the right decisions.
  • A pre-approval program will actually approve you for a specific loan amount subject to the property. This will give you confidence and should help in negotiating with the seller.
  • Your real estate professional can provide you with a list of items you' ll need to make a loan application so you' ll be ready when the time comes.
  • The right to conduct a property inspection, included in your sales contract, will give you the ability to negotiate with the seller before spending money to have a professional inspect the property.
  • A Home Protection Plan can provide coverage for selected items such as central heat and air conditioning, interior plumbing, built-in appliances, pool equipment, and other things. If the seller is not providing this coverage, you can purchase it yourself.
  • Ask the real estate professional for a list of buyers that he or she has helped. Call several names to verify that you' ll receive good service.
  • Ask the real estate professional if they are familiar with the neighborhoods you want to live in. Ask how many homes they have sold there in the past year.
  • Ask the real estate professional who he or she is representing in the transaction.

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Before Buying Your Home:

Under ideal circumstances, a home inspection will be allowed before you make an offer on a home. However, if the seller doesn't agree to it, you should make an offer contingent on the inspection outcome. Such a contingency will allow you to renegotiate or withdraw your offer should any problems turn up. Here are some of the basic tasks involved in a home inspection, which can be performed by you or a professional inspector:
  • Determine whether windows and doors protect the house from the weather. Look for weather stripping, working locks, ease in opening and closing, water damage.
  • Look for weaknesses in ceilings and walls, including water stains, bulges, sags and cracks. Evaluate condition of interior paint.
  • Make sure floors are reasonably level without sags or soft spots that might indicate water damage.
  • Check bathrooms carefully for electrical, plumbing, ventilation and water damage. Examine grounding and shut off valves on all fixtures; test water pressure; look for leaky pipes, loose tiles and spongy flooring.
  • I evaluate attic insulation and ventilation. Measure insulation thickness. Look for signs of water damage, exhaust fans venting into attic, and structural beams that have been cut for ductwork.

  • For pitched roofs, determine condition of shingles and roof sheathing. Look for repairs, cracked or missing shingles, signs of age, sagging, softness or unevenness, and vent placement.
  • For flat roofs, look for problems that might cause leaks. Watch out for cracked, blistered or torn spots, water accumulation and improper drainage systems.
  • Look for horizontal, vertical or stair-step cracks and bulges in foundation walls. Inspect mortar joints and masonry. Inspect soil, gravel or concrete around foundation for proper drainage.
  • Inspect siding, windows and doors for bulges, cupping or buckling, open joints at corners, wood siding closer than six inches to the ground, water damage to trim. Evaluate exterior paint and windowpanes.

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Rich Sieber will make this as easy as possible for you.
Just fill out and follow the instructions on the loan application given to you by a lender. The internet even has several lenders for you to choose from, as well as 20-30 local lenders. Ask your agent for a list of lenders that will best suit your needs if you don't already have one.

Do it you can start looking today for the home that's right for you and your budget!

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Buyers Beware of These Six Potential Pitfalls in Buying Your New Home:
  • 1. Don't buy an outmoded house or ill-fitting house, unless you are certain it can be tailored to suit your needs, and you know exactly how much that will cost.
  • 2. Don't let spur-of-the-moment impulse override sound judgment. Take your time and tour the house at least twice at different times of day. Drive around the neighborhood, listen to the noise, smell the air and find out what you' re really getting into. Visit the neighborhood at different times of day. Check the traffic during peek hours.
  • 3. Don't buy a house just because it is a bargain. Or you might end up with something you didn't bargain for, a less than ideal housing situation. Stick to your criteria and find a home that meets your needs, wants and budget. Keep records of your findings for each home.
  • 4. Don't buy a new house in a new subdivision if you expect to move in less than seven years. If you try to sell any sooner, you will find yourself competing with brand new homes being built around the corner and offering better financing and newer features.
  • 5. Don't try to work personal property into the real estate deal. Take care of the house first, then worry about the washer and dryer. Otherwise, you will just end up confusing the seller.
  • 6. Don't buy a house without getting to know the neighborhood first.. You need to find out about emergency services, zoning restrictions, street lighting, parks, shopping centers, churches, medical facilities, etc.

Watch Out for RED FLAGS! Ask questions about a home if it is sold "as is" or at a special low price.

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Twelve Factors That Could Spell Trouble:
  • 1. Home was scene of a serious crime.
  • 2. Previous owner had contagious disease.
  • 3. Cracks in the foundation.
  • 4. Contaminated well water.
  • 5. Serious radon or toxic waste disposal issues.
  • 6. Sewer, septic tank or drainage problems.
  • 7. Local zoning permitting commercial development on adjacent property.
  • 8. Threat of seizure by eminent domain, the states right to take property for the public good, such as highway development.
  • 9. Previous grand fathered exemptions from current building codes that could thwart future renovations.
  • 10. Very difficult neighbors.
  • 11. Home is on airport flight path.
  • 12. Was the scene of a drug arrest.

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Home Warranty Protection Plan:

As an additional benefit, some sellers provide a one year Home Protection Plan for the buyer. This coverage is good for one year on selected items:
  • Central Heating System
  • Electric Central Air System
  • Electrical System and Wiring
  • Interior Plumbing
  • Some built-in Appliances  (All for extra $$)
  • Electric Pool Equipment (Extra $$ on Cost)

If the home you choose does not have a Home Protection Plan, you can acquire the coverage yourself or ask the seller to provide it.  There are several national companies providing this protection plan. The most widely used plan in the Boise area is American Home Shield.

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Question to Ask When Writing An Offer to Purchase:
  • 1. Has the owner completed a property disclosure statement?
  • 2. If yes: May I have a copy to look at?  Yes, in Idaho every home owner must provide a filled out Full Disclosure Form to every buyer or interested party.
  • 3. What type of financing is available on this property at this time?
  • 4. Are there quote sheets available?
  • 5. What would be a reasonable repair expense amount for this home?
  • 6. Has there been an appraisal made on this home?
  • 7. Could you run comparables of recent sales in the area?
  • 8. Are you aware of anything that might affect the value presently or in the future?
  • 9. Would you prepare an estimated closing cost statement and figure the approximate house payments?
  • 10. Would you prepare a comparison of an adjustable rate mortgage and a fixed rate mortgage and a Homeowner's Analysis?
  • 11. Are there any highway, industrial smells, airplane traffic or future plans for the area you know of, I should be aware of?
  • 12. Was this house around when lead base paints were used.

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Questions for Buyers to Ask About Utilities and Energy Efficiency:
  • 1. What type of utilities are in place?
  • 2. How much are annual utility costs?
  • 3. What percentage of your monthly housing expenses do utility costs make up?
  • 4. Is there room for improving energy efficiency and lowering utility costs? What measures already have been taken along these lines?
  • 5. Does the home make a good candidate for solar power?
  • 6. Does the home rely on oil heat? Can it be changed? If so, what will it entail?
  • 7. If there is a wood stove, how often is it used by the current owner? (How much fuel used per year?) How often would potential owner use it?
  • 8. What is the houses orientation to the sun? Does it get low winter sun but not high summer sun? Ask owners and neighbors, and check yourself.

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When Purchasing a Condo, Ask the Following Questions:
  • A profile of the type of person who lives in this complex?
  • Is a garage or carport space included? How far is it from the unit? Is there guest parking?
  • An engineering report on the entire building or complex?
  • What's the current monthly maintenance fee? How recently has it increased? Is there a likelihood of another increase soon? When?
  • A copy of the current CCR's (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions)?
  • If pets are permitted in this building.
  • Are there any planned improvements that will be assessed back to the owners, like new roofs?
  • Is there RV storage or storage provided?

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Tips for Negotiating a Contract With a Seller:
  • All offers and all counter-offers must be in writing.
  • All of the property owners must be presented the offer and sign the sales contract.
  • Earnest money for the purchase should be a large enough amount to show good faith to the seller and should be kept in a trust account until the closing.
  • Include any personal property in the sales contract that is involved and ask for a bill of sale.
  • It is not a good idea to make an extremely low offer and expect the seller to counter the offer. You may make them mad and they may not even counter the offer.
  • Being pre-approved will give you a firm loan commitment from a lender subject to an appraisal on the subject property. This can be a valuable tool in negotiating because it will remove part of the uncertainty from the contract. Experience shows that owners will might take less because they know their home is really sold.
  • The property disclosure should be read before entering into a contract. Most good listing agents have extra copies in their home book inside the home for sale.
  • Once you know you want to write an offer on a home, do it immediately. You will stand a better chance of getting a favorable agreement if you are not negotiating against other offers.
  • Decide on what you feel is most important for the seller and try and give it to them in trade for something else. As an example, if you feel that allowing possession after closing is something the seller needs, maybe you can trade that for a lower price.
  • Most people find it is difficult to negotiate on their own behalf. That is why having an agent negotiate for you can be very valuable. That agent can present the reasons for your offer and might be able to say things that the listing agent or homeowner haven't thought of or considered.
  • Unless you are buying a property "as is", you need to include a provision in the sales contract allowing for a professional inspection. It should state what things are to be inspected, when the inspections are to be made, and who is to make repairs. It is not uncommon that if the repairs exceed a specified amount that the buyer has the option to void the contract.
  • If you or your spouse is out of town, a specific power of attorney can allow one of you to sign for the other. This can make negotiating a contract much more expeditious.

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In the state of Idaho, it is customary for the seller to pay for the Owner's Title Policy guaranteeing clear title to the property and the appraisal. However, they are negotiable items. Builders typically do not want to pay for the title policy and explain it by saying that it mainly benefits the buyer and therefore they should pay for it.

It is common for the buyer to pay the following closing costs when initiating a mortgage. Typical Buyer's Closing Costs:
  • Loan Origination Fee
  • Discount Points
  • Survey
  • Inspection Fees
  • Escrow Fees or 1/2 if negotiated
  • Document Preparation Fees
  • Extended Title Policy
  • Mortgage Title Policy
  • Recording Fee
  • Underwriting Tax Service
  • Processing Fee
  • Repair Inspections
  • Courier
  • Credit Report
  • Funding Fee

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Rich has a Financial Investment In Finding You a Home:
Description Time in Hours Dollar Value *
Preparation for Initial Interview 0.50 20.00
Initial Interview 1.00 40.00
Research for First Showing 2.00 80.00
First Showing 2.00 80.00
Follow-up and Research for Second Showing 2.00 80.00
Second Showing 2.00 80.00
Follow-up and Research for Third Showing 2.00 80.00
Third Showing 2.00 80.00
Follow-up 1.00 40.00
Prepare Initial Offer 1.00 40.00
Search Mortgage Money 0.75 30.00
Review Offer and get it Signed 1.00 40.00
Deliver and Explain Offer to Listing Agent 1.50 60.00
Prepare counter-offer 1.00 40.00
Review counter-offer 1.00 40.00
Deliver Signed Contract 1.00 40.00
Arrange Financing 2.00 80.00
Attend Loan Application 2.00 80.00
Title Work 1.00 40.00
Arrange and Attend Inspections 3.00 120.00
Arrange and Attend Appraisal 3.00 120.00
Arrange and Attend Repairs 3.00 120.00
Review Settlement Papers 1.00 40.00
Closing 1.0040.00
Total 37.751,510.00

*All estimates of time are typical activities.
Based on a $75,000 annual income.

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Rich Sieber Photo Smith & Coelho,LLC
Smith & Coelho, LLC
1151 E Iron Eagle Dr
Eagle, Idaho 83616
208-841-4612 OR 208-475-3186
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